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Diablerie

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Overview

In this icy noir from a master of American fiction, the darkest secrets are the ones we keep hidden from ourselves.

Ben Dibbuk has a good job, an accomplished wife, a bright college-age daughter, and a patient young mistress. Even as he goes through the motions of everyday life, however, inside he feels nothing. The explanation for this emotional void lies in the years he spent as a blacked-out drunk before pulling his life together—years in which he knows he committed acts he ...

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Diablerie: A Novel

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Overview

In this icy noir from a master of American fiction, the darkest secrets are the ones we keep hidden from ourselves.

Ben Dibbuk has a good job, an accomplished wife, a bright college-age daughter, and a patient young mistress. Even as he goes through the motions of everyday life, however, inside he feels nothing. The explanation for this emotional void lies in the years he spent as a blacked-out drunk before pulling his life together—years in which he knows he committed acts he doesn't remember. Then a woman from his past turns up at a gala for his wife's new gig at a magazine called Diablerie and makes it clear that she remembers something he doesn't. Their encounter sets wheels in motion that will propel Dibbuk toward new knowledge and perhaps the chance to feel again. With the same erotic force as Killing Johnny Fry but grounded in a far darker vision of human nature, Diablerie is a transfixing new novel from one of our most powerful writers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is Mosley at his deepest and best, scratching away the faces we wear to reveal the person behind the masks." —-Publishers Weekly Starred Review
Publishers Weekly

A taut and suspenseful thriller that follows Ben Dibbuk as he unravels a mysterious plot against him initiated by his own wife, Mosley's latest effort is captivating. Richard Allen's reading, however, is not quite suitable—not because he isn't clear or doesn't reads well, but because his deep and rich tone that sounds almost classically trained doesn't suit the common, everyman character of Dibbuk. Allen's narration creates a disconnect from the story, and he fails to capture the essence of this thrilling tale with characters whose voices only vaguely resemble those of Mosley's text. Though there is an underlying tension created at the very onset of the story, Allen is simply not the right choice for this particular reading. Simultaneous release with the Bloomsbury hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 15). (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
A disturbing chance encounter jolts a New York computer programmer out of his affectless routine and into the turbulent what-next zone in which Mosley's heroes from Easy Rawlins to Fearless Jones have always thrived. "You don't care about nuthin'. That's what I like about you," says Cassius Copeland, security expert at Our Bank, to his virtually friendless friend Ben Dibbuk. Ever since awakening in a Bowery gutter from a Colorado drinking spree more than 20 years ago, Ben's been living the Day-Timer life, with slots for his wife, magazine editor Mona Valeria; their daughter Seela, an NYU student; and his mistress Svetlana, whom he keeps tucked away in a West Side apartment. He doesn't care much about any of them, and it doesn't bother him that he doesn't. One evening Mona drags him to a banquet to celebrate the launch of Diablerie, her new magazine. The featured speaker is Barbara "Star" Knowland, who's turned her ordeal as a crazed killer's hostage into a high-profile memoir. Ben knew her back in Colorado, Star insists; in fact, he's been dogging her footsteps in New York. Even before she comes out and accuses him (to Mona, to the cops, to the FBI) of killing her menacing ex-lover Sean Messier two decades ago and letting another man take the rap, Ben, who can't remember any of this, suddenly finds himself in free fall. He plays hooky from work; he spies on Mona and her lover Harvard Rollins, an ex-cop security expert who's digging into Ben's past; he reaches out to the mother he hasn't phoned for seven years; his sex life ventures into the wild side Mosley explored in Killing Johnny Fry (2007). Caroming from one mysterious exchange to the next, Ben can't imagine aiming as high asunderstanding his life: "I just wanted to imagine a world outside my mind."Provocative, haunting, satisfyingly inconclusive work from a storyteller of formidable gifts and boundless ambition.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400106387
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/18/2008
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 5 CDs, 5 hrs. 30 min.
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

Walter Mosley is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-three critically acclaimed books, including Devil in a Blue Dress and The Wave.

Richard Allen is a five-time Audie-nominated narrator whose work has been acknowledged on the Best Audiobooks Lists for Audiofile and Library Journal.

Biography

When President Bill Clinton announced that Walter Mosley was one of his favorite writers, Black Betty (1994), Mosley's third detective novel featuring African American P.I. Easy Rawlins, soared up the bestseller lists. It's little wonder Clinton is a fan: Mosley's writing, an edgy, atmospheric blend of literary and pulp fiction, is like nobody else's. Some of his books are detective fiction, some are sci-fi, and all defy easy categorization.

Mosley was born in Los Angeles, traveled east to college, and found his way into writing fiction by way of working as a computer programmer, caterer, and potter. His first Easy Rawlins book, Gone Fishin' didn't find a publisher, but the next, Devil in a Blue Dress (1990) most certainly did -- and the world was introduced to a startlingly different P.I.

Part of the success of the Easy Rawlins series is Mosley's gift for character development. Easy, who stumbles into detective work after being laid off by the aircraft industry, ages in real time in the novels, marries, and experiences believable financial troubles and successes. In addition, Mosley's ability to evoke atmosphere -- the dangers and complexities of life in the toughest neighborhoods of Los Angeles -- truly shines. His treatment of historic detail (the Rawlins books take place in Los Angeles from the 1940s to the mid-1960s) is impeccable, his dialogue fine-tuned and dead-on.

In 2002, Mosley introduced a new series featuring Fearless Jones, an Army vet with a rigid moral compass, and his friend, a used-bookstore owner named Paris Minton. The series is set in the black neighborhoods of 1950s L.A. and captures the racial climate of the times. Mosley himself summed up the first book, 2002's Fearless Jones, as "comic noir with a fringe of social realism."

Despite the success of his bestselling crime series, Mosley is a writer who resolutely resists pigeonholing. He regularly pens literary fiction, short stories, essays, and sci-fi novels, and he has made bold forays into erotica, YA fiction, and political polemic. "I didn't start off being a mystery writer," he said in an interview with NPR. "There's many things that I am." Fans of this talented, genre-bending author could not agree more!

Good To Know

Mosley won a Grammy award in 2002 in the category of "Best Album Notes" for Richard Pryor.... And It's Deep, Too! The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings (1968-1992).

Mosley is an avid potter in his spare time.

In our 2004 interview, Mosley reveals:

"I was a computer programmer for 15 years before publishing my first book. I am an avid collector of comic books. And I believe that war is rarely the answer, especially not for its innocent victims."

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 12, 1952
    2. Place of Birth:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Education:
      B.A., Johnson State College
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 10 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2007

    Great, interesting read...

    This novel is short (180 pages) and straight to the point. I enjoyed it from beginning to end. Mosley included just enought erotic scenes in the novel as not to drown the story line.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A reviewer

    Compact, concise, compelling. Dark. Walter Mosley has crafted a brief novel, an exploration of the human psyche that grips the reader with the opening page. We know the protagonist's name. It is Ben Dibbuk, he's an almost 50-year-old computer programmer, married with a daughter in college. He has Svetlana, a Russian mistress his daughter's age. Nonetheless, exactly who is Ben Dibbuk? He's alienated, unable to care for anyone or anything. Nothing matters to him - not his wife, Mona, his daughter, Seela, or his work. He simply would like to be left alone. Earlier he had suffered from frightening nightmares and went into therapy at the behest of Mona. The terrifying dreams stopped after awhile as did his visits to the therapist. One day Mona insists that he go to a banquet with her, an evening with her co-workers at a fashion magazine, Diablerie. It is there that he's approached by the keynote speaker, Star, a woman who claims to know him. He has no recollection whatsoever of her. When she tells him the exact date they were together, he replies, 'That's back when I was still drinking......I was just telling the waitress there that I've forgotten more nights than I remember.' That same evening he is introduced to Harvard Rollins, a fact-checker for the magazine, and as he later learns his wife's lover, the man she has asked to look into Ben's past. Why? At this point for whatever reason he feels compelled to get in touch with his mother, a woman he hasn't seen in 15 years. Just before Ben hung up he heard his mother say, '...I never thought I'd feel that I regretted my own son's birth but¿' He also places a telephone call to his brother, Briggs, who is now in jail. Briggs remembers another phone call from Ben some 20 years earlier in which Ben asked questions about criminal apprehension, mentioned something wrong that he had done, and that there had been a witness - a woman by the name of Star. Moseley is a master of prose. Who else would describe an alcoholic's desire for cognac as '...rich amber liquor moving through my veins like chamber music on a sunny afternoon in a many-windowed room in July'? He's also a master at creating an intriguing mystery, one that is irresistible to readers and grows deeper as the narrative moves on. Daring, adventurous, powerful, Moseley is all of these as he proves once again in the hauntingly erotic Diablerie. - Gail Cooke

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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